Naseem Shah shatters Afghan dream to give Pakistan unassailable lead in ODI series

Afghanistan set a 301-run target against Pakistan in the second match; Pakistan take lead by 2-0

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Sports Desk
Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah (R) run between the wickets during the second ODI between Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota on August 24, 2023. — AFP
Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah (R) run between the wickets during the second ODI between Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota on August 24, 2023. — AFP

After the incredible victory in the first match, Pakistan on Thursday also won the second match of the one-day international (ODI) series against Afghanistan by one wicket in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

Men in Green continued their superb form, bearing in mind that they won the first ODI by 142 runs, and won the series.

Naseem Shah, who led Pakistan to a victory against the same opposition in Asia Cup 2022, once again guided the Green Shirts to a thrilling victory in the last over as they needed 11 runs off 6 balls.

Chasing the target of 301 runs, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman for just 52 runs but it was Imam-ul-Haq and skipper Babar Azam, who formed a 118-run stand and got their team in a dominant position.

However, right after completing his fifty, Babar fell to Fazalhaq Farooq, after which the winning side started to lose wickets.

At one point, it looked over for the Green Shirts but Shadab Khan helped his side to get back in the game once again by scoring 48 off 35.

The last over had all the drama, as Fazalhaq was running towards the crease to bowl the ball, he managed Shadab, who was on the non-striking end.

But, after Shadab’s bizarre dismissal, Naseem took charge of Pakistan’s batting and led them to a victory.

Earlier in the first innings, Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 151 runs to help Afghanistan post 300-5 in 50 overs.

After deciding to bat first, Afghanistan's opening pair of Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran scored 227 runs together. It was Afghanistan's second-highest ODI partnership.

Zadran (80) was removed by Usama Mir as he missed his fifth ODI century. But, Gurbaz kept on going and completed his run-a-ball 150. He got out at the hands of Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 45th over but the destruction was already done for Pakistan. His power-packed knock included 14 boundaries and three maximums.

Shaheen bagged two wickets while Naseem Shah and Usama managed to take one.

Rahmat Shah and Azmatullah Omarzai, who retired hurt in the first ODI, were replaced by Riaz Hassan and Shahid Kamal for Afghanistan in the second ODI.

Pakistan were unchanged for the contest.

Playing XI

Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Shahid Kamal, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf.